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Q&A with Robert Bourns

9 January 2018

City solicitor Robert is partner at TLT, Law Society Council member for the City constituency and former president of the Law Society. Robert has just been appointed chair of the board, which is responsible for delivering policy and strategy.

Robert Bourns

1. What was your first job?

Night shift ‘Chef’ at M'way services of M5 at Portbury during the hot summer of 1976 - Fried egg, sausage, beans and chips - all generally overcooked, a staple. Hopefully their standards have improved!

Others along the way - Christmas post delivery, power washing mud from Wessex Water vehicles, loading tins of paint onto distribution wagons, making the ‘vendange’ in the haut medoc.

2. What do you hope to achieve as Chair?

Create and embed a Board that is forward looking, holding the trust of the profession, working constructively with Council and the executive so that issues, relevant to members of the profession are identified and leadership demonstrated.

3. How would you describe what you do?

Sort human stories.

4. What are you working on at the moment?

In the ‘day job’ a few employment issues. In anticipation of the Board - a handbook, in which I hope we can describe the way we expect the Board to work.

5. Share some great advice you've been given?

In relation to any decision, action or inaction- consider how it will be read by anyone looking on.

6. What is the best thing about the City?

We have had an office in the City since 2005. I have been impressed by the extent of the community, how welcoming it has been and the extent of ambition, with pride in achievement.

7. What's in your desk drawers?

Working in an open plan, paperless environment, far too much. All evidencing my struggle operating our evolving systems. Also, personal stuff - including early drawings to ‘Daddy’ from my youngest son when a toddler. He is now a hairy 21-year-old. In short - my drawers need turning out.

8. Can you recommend a local lunch or coffee spot?

Rather sadly, I think the porridge from Pret is some of the best. Field's Bar & Kitchen in Lincoln's Inn Fields is a bit different and excellent in the summer. Manicomio, in Gutter Lane is reliable.

9. How do you relax?

Good idea. I like walking in the Lake District. I also spend time gardening, although May to September, this becomes something of a war of attrition - keeping ahead of it.

10. What is your pet hate?

My family have instructed me to stop watching the news, or talking about politicians or Brexit.

11. If you hand't been a solicitor, what would you have been?

I would like to have been an engineer or architect. Constructive and useful.

12. Sum up being a solicitor, in a word.